We Have Baby Photos. And Tears. Lots of Tears.

Here’s what was going on over here exactly one week ago today:

also, this:

And this:

And a whole lot of this:

Pretty incredible.

The birth went pretty much as I’d hoped. Difficult, as childbirth tends to be, but smooth and relatively quick. Relatively. Full report to come. The hospital stay was pretty relaxing, too.

And then we came home. My milk came in, turning my boobs into two large, painful boulders, ready to burst at any moment. My nipples burned from all the newborn mini-mouth action. And Roy threw up. Then he threw up again. And again. It was awful.

Settling in at home with a newborn is difficult. Beautifully disorienting and amazing and wonderul and difficult. Settling in at home with a newborn and a confused toddler with the stomach flu is much more difficult. You want to comfort him. You need to. But there’s a baby in your arms. A baby with a delicate immune system. You can’t do both. It’s heartbreaking. Plus, there’s all that puke to clean up.

Looking back, the last week can well be defined by all the moments that brought tears to my eyes. Here is an incomplete list:

* In the early morning hours, my contractions are gaining momentum and intensity. I’m packing the last few items in my bag between them. Upstairs, Roy is stirring in his crib. We are about to take him to daycare and then head in to the hospital. I start weeping uncontrollably. Our girl is finally on her way.

* I’ve been in hard labor for long enough that I want it to stop. Want to call the whole thing off. Seriously. My doula has convinced me to ride a few contractions out in the tub and see where that gets us. They pick up, rip though me, becoming just short of impossibly, literally, un-fucking-bearable. Only between contractions does my body have enough extra energy to whimper-cry.

* I take a warm bath a few hours post-birth. Clint is in the adjoining hospital room, holding our second child, a mere hour old. I’ve birthed her. I’m no longer pregnant. We did it. We are a family of four. I cry in pure disbelief and happiness.

* Roy bursts into the room, throwing the cloth hospital curtain back dramatically and grinning wide. He’s wearing a t-shirt that says “I’m the Big Brother.” He sits on the bed next to me and peeks skeptically at Vera, his sister, for the first time. Of course the tears come.

* The second night Roy visits us in the hospital, he wants us to come home with him. Doesn’t understand why the three of us stay and he has to go home. He sobs like he’s never sobbed before, repeating, “Mommy, Daddy, Mommy, Daddy.” Again, he sits next to me in the hospital bed. I hug him and whisper that we will come home tomorrow, I promise, and that we’ll all be together and that I love him forever and ever. He calms down but is clearly not OK. It breaks my heart in two.

* We finally get home. During Vera’s inaugural diaper change, she screams so hard it’s silent. Roy positions himself at her head and pats her fuzzy bird hair softly, repeating, “It’s OK, Vera. It’s OK.” Sob.

* Roy just puked. As Clint is cleaning him up, I hold Vera and watch as his toddler lip quivers, shiny bright pink against his pale skin. He looks at me directly, his big blue eyes broadcasting pure confusion and pain. I want to hold my baby, Roy, like I used to. I want things to be as they were. I wonder what we’ve done—and how we’re ever going to do it.

* Clint draws warm baths for me twice a day. The morning ones are especially lovely. I am all alone, soaking my recovering body and needy breasts in lavender salts. Vera is clean and fed and downstairs, in Clint’s arms. I can hear Roy’s toddler squeals and pajama feet padding the floorboards. I relax down into the water and quietly cry over how incredibly lucky I am.

Overall, we’re getting there. Roy’s back on regular food and hasn’t puked in a couple of days. Clint is a patient and clearly proud father of two. My milk is totally in and the pressure and pain are mellowing. Despite the crying jags, which are to be expected, I’m functioning and healing fairly well. And Vera has been a rock star. Mellow. A fabulous eater. A darn good sleeper and pooper. We truly can’t get enough of her and love her like crazy.

That’s it for now. I’ll re-emerge with another update when I’m able.

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  1. by jill @offiising

    On February 13, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Berit–I feel your pain. And your tears. Fia’s saddness (not often but enough) is seriously putting my heart in jeopardy. And yet we are a family of four and it’s perfection in that we have it so good. In the meantime, it’s too bad the two of us moms can’t sell our tears. We’d be rich women! Happy to hear from you. Look forward to reading more. Jill

  2. by Aunt Ardith

    On February 14, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Buckner Family of Four–Congratulations!! Yes, both Grandma Linda and Aunt Ardith cried with you when we read your piece today, Berit. We know how exciting and wonderful it all is. Glad Roy is over flu..that will help some. Hang in there, Clint. The pictures are great! Know Grandpa & Grandma from Iowa can’t wait to see the real Vera! Love from us all in Greenfield, Aunt Ardith

  3. by Anti Jen

    On February 15, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Oh, woman. That gave me chills. It’s those ups and downs and the making sense in between that you totally took me back to there. Thanks for sharing the raw stuff as well the perfect pics. We love her already! Looking forward to hearing more. As I say to the kids when they ask me who I love better: “When I had a second baby, my heart doubled in size. So you’re both even. Now shut it and your broccoli.”

  4. by neysa

    On February 19, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    I love you, Berit. You’re doing wonderfully.

  5. by Berit Thorkelson

    On February 22, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Thanks, all you ladies. The rollercoaster ride continues over here, but it’s all good. I just try and remember how much I’ll miss this time. Which isn’t hard when I’ve got a little newborn baby bod resting on my chest.

  6. by Feeling Fragile | Fearless Feisty Mama Blog

    On August 6, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    [...] It’s what hormones and a new baby does to many of moms. My fellow blogger Berit wrote about how many times she’s burst into tears lately. It gives me great comfort not to be alone in my weepy sea of rational–and [...]